|Emper, Empress, Red Falcon|
Photo: Metropolitan Opera
|Meagan Miller, soprano|
Photo ©Arielle Doneson Corrigan
Now please indulge me by listening to my raves about the singing. Beautiful American soprano Meagan Miller made her Metropolitan Opera debut with this performance of the Empress, and it was a success. Her singing was huge, beautiful and very free. Clearly she had a great understanding of the role. Her impressive list of accomplishments to date include leading roles (many of them Strauss) at the Deutsche Opera Berlin, Wiener Stadtsoper, Bayerische Stadtsoper, Hamburg, Monte Carlo, Washington National Opera, etc. I look forward to hearing many other great performances from this woman. (Here is a link to a video excerpt of her Ariadne.)
American Christine Goerke is no stranger to Metropolitan Opera audiences, having made her debut in 1995. As the Dyer's Wife (who has no name of her own), she also sang beautifully, with a huge and impassioned sound that was subtle where needed. In personality her Dyer's Wife was the equal of the bold Nurse (the Empress's evil sidekick), and even from the Family Circle, we could see her torment as she realized her current situation was far better than she'd thought, and far better than she might have gotten were she to actually trade her shadow for worldly goods.
Johan Reuter, as Barak the Dyer, was a marvel. Glorious sound and a wonderfully strong but sensitive portrayal of Barak, visible even from the Family Circle. His list of accomplishments ranges from Guglielmo to Wotan to Nick Shadow at some of Europe's great houses, and this is no surprise. I won't stoop so low as to call him a Great Dane (particularly considering my unfortunate culinary experience recently at a pub of that name in Madison), but he's been around. He's been on the roster at the Met since 2012.
|Torsten Kerl, tenor|
Photo © Bettina Stöß
This 2001 Metropolitan Opera production is by Herbert Wernicke, and is visually stunning. Mr. Tommasini of The New York Times wrote, "The bold, inventive production, for which Wernicke also designed the sets, costumes and lighting, is one of the great achievements of Joseph Volpe’s tenure as the Met’s general manager, and it is good to have it back." All I can say is I was glad to have it as my introduction to this amazing opera. Rather than desperate to return to the order and delicacy or Donizetti and Bellini, I left wishing I knew this score better.